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Union warns of cuts to Surrey Fire and Rescue Service

17 March 10 17:19 GMT

A confidential report on the future of fire services in Surrey has been condemned by a trade union.

Surrey County Unison said it had seen a draft document proposing cuts to Surrey Fire and Rescue Service.

The union plans to protest outside County Hall when Surrey County Council (SCC) meets on Tuesday.

The local authority said the report was just one of several "public value reviews" under way to ensure the council is using resources effectively.

News of the draft document comes as local councils brace themselves for government spending cuts as the country emerges out of the recession.

'Price on life'

Earlier this month, a nationwide BBC survey found the county council was anticipating having to cut up to 1,000 jobs in the next three to five years.

Paul Couchman, of Surrey County Unison, said he was alarmed by the draft document.

He said: "I don't think you can put a price on life and you can't put a price on emergency services."

Councillor Kay Hammond, SCC's cabinet member for community safety, said the proposals were at an early stage and would be widely consulted upon later this year.

She said: "We are looking at lots of different options.

"The document is a draft document and at present confidential because we don't want to scaremonger. The reality is we are very safe in Surrey.

"This is alongside many other public value reviews that are going on within council services, not just in fire and rescue, to establish whether we are providing services correctly, maximising income, and making the best use of resources."

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